- Q & A
October 2004 NewsletterWines evaluated last month: 230 Rejected: 210 Approved: 20 Selected: 6
Autumn is approaching and it's the time of year when we feel changes and often feel a need for change. At Wine of the Month Club we are excited with our changes. Our Vintner's Series is debuting this month and we think you will be just as excited as we are. We have also brought Master Sommelier, Elizabeth Schweitzer on board to be our newsletter editor and be part of our Wine of the Month Club team. She is only one of twelve women in the world to hold the esteemed title and we look forward to her contributions to our family.Regular Series
Chardonnay is one of the world's most popular white wine grapes, with over 300,000 acres planted and over 100,000 acres in California alone. We found the Canyon Oaks Chardonnay and it is another fine example of the crisp green apple and hints of oak which make Chardonnay so distinct and delicious.
Barbera is also widely planted and thrives in warm climates like the Foothills of the Andes in Argentina. Vinas de Cuyum Mapu Barbera is deep purple and full of mouthfilling fruit.
Zinfandel is especially loved in California since it is only grown here. There are so many great Zinfandels and we found another one in the 2000 Saviez. We think it is a prime example of pure decadent jammy Zinfandel character.
Meritage wines are also popular in California. The 2003 JanKris Crossfire blends Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah to make a superb tasting wine. It is a great wine to enjoy now with red meats and stew or it is a keeper for 3-5 years. Bright fruit flavors of cassis, berries and spice with complexity and slight hints of oak and round mouth-filling tannins, will keep you going back to the glass for another sip.
Domestic SelectionJust when you thought you had tasted every Chardonnay at an economical price, here comes Canyon Oaks. Canyon Oaks Chardonnay is grown in California's cool coastal valleys. A large percentage of the fruit for this lively wine is from the winery's home vineyard in the Arroyo Seco appellation of southern Monterey County. Alluvial, gravelly, well-drained soils and a long growing season are perfect for this varietal. 2003 was a vintage of surprises from the wine gods and at Canyon Oaks. The crew at Canyon Oaks saw this as an opportunity to blend grapes from other sources to add unusual depth and dimension to the final product. Phil Franscioni turned his attention to other estate parcels in Napa, Sonoma, and the Central Valley to add nuances and subtleties to enhance the wines texture. The Sonoma fruit adds ripe green apple and floral characteristics. The Napa fruit lends acid, backbone, and structure. The Central Valley juice from Fresno and Delano, contributes fatness, flesh and fullness. There was a lot of talent and skill involved in this project. One sip and you will sense a complexity and harmonious wine. The wine spent 6-8 months in barrels both American and French. Canyon Oaks is pleasant enough to serve alone or with light appetizers. (See recipe). It is also complex enough for grilled white fishes, veal, and even some Asian dishes. We hope that you enjoy this lovely wine as much Chardonnay, 2003
Crisp and full of varietal character.
Hints of oaks but not overwhelming.
Fragrant nose of green apples.
Light to medium-bodied
Complex, floral and hint of cinnamon spice
as we enjoyed finding it for you.
Imported SelectionAmazingly, Argentina is the world's fourth largest wine producer in the world. With the influx of several cultures, the wines from Argentina have a more European style, particularly Italian, than its neighbor Chile. The most widely planted grape is Malbec but here is the largest plantings of Sangiovese, Barbera, and Bonardo outside of Italy. The largest growing region is Mendoza, but Maipu, San Rafael, Tupungato and Lujan de Cuyo are also regions making quality wines as well. Bodega Familia Quattrocchi was founded in the early seventies by Elena and Jose Quattrocchi, both Italian entrepreneurs in Mendoza, Argentina. Twenty years later, the winery is still going strong and now run by their younger daughter and her husband Nino Franco. The winery is under deep renovation but is still producing premium wines for the international market. Vinas de Cuyum Mapu is the aborigen name for 'land of the sand vineyards'. The winery is located in the Lavalle County in Mendoza at the Andes Foothills in western Argentina. The vines are planted in a desert, 800 meters above sea level in the sandy soil so perfectly suited for the Barbera grape. The weather is very cold in winter and dry in the summer. The Andes protect the vines from the cold. The rootstocks are French and Italian. Barbera, 2003
Vinas de Cuyum Mapu, Argentina
Ruby red color. Subtle nose with hints of spice.
Round, soft tannins balanced by the fruit flavors and white pepper spice.
The wine has an understated elegance, soft fruits, and tannins. Here is another treasure from Argentina.
Limited Series SelectionOver 100 years of wine making experience, enthusiasm and passion make Saviez one of the more exciting wineries in Napa Valley. In 1890, Francois Saviez migrated from France and worked for Lilly Coit on her vineyards. Years later he bought 250 acres of the land which is now Saviez Family Estates. The family tradi¬tion to farm was passed from generation to gen¬eration. It began with Francois, then to Cyril, now Paul and then to Monique who will be the fourth generation to run the vineyards. Paul Saviez puts his knowl¬edge and his energy into expert vineyard manage-ment. Paul has always grown grapes of excep¬tional quality and has always loved Napa Valley and his family ranch. His style is very hands on, from pruning to har¬vest to bottling. Paul says, "I have always considered my educa tion as a farmer to be an ongoing process. My focus has and always will be on quality not quantity." They are growing every day to better serve the needs of the vintner's and wine lovers in Napa Valley and elsewhere. This is the fifth release of the Zinfandel and it is another success story. Saviez Zinfandel fruit is so rich and unctuous it is almost sinful. This is truly a wine for sipping alone or paired with BBQ or meat dishes. As soon as you open the bottle the strong aromas of berries is evident. Once in the glass you will be enticed by the bold blackberry smells and flavors. The wine is rich, full-bodied, and full of peppery spices and complex fruit flavors. The oak adds depth and is balanced by the ample ripe fruit. You cannot drink just one glass. Enjoy!
Napa Valley, California
Ripe flavors and aromas of blackberries, nutmeg, dark chocolate and vanilla. Balanced with soft round tannins and a luscious aroma.
Limited Series SelectionAlong the South Central Coast of California is San Luis Obispo County, home to York Mountain, Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande, and Paso Robles. Paso Robles was once a retreat for Black Bart and multiple other bank and stagecoach robbers. Paso offered them a place to hang their hats and put down their weapons and away from the eyes of the lawmen. Since the 1880's, the wines of Paso Robles have been red, red, and more red. And rightly so. The Santa Lucia Mountains make for relentless sun and heat during the growing sea¬son. Along with high ele¬vation, this area has the hottest days of any region along the coast. The chalk slopes are great for Zinfandel. North of Kiler Canyon, the climate is hot enough for Zinfandel, but also for Rhone varietels. South of the canyon, the ocean air cools the air so much that Zinfandel is hard to ripen and the land is better for Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. The JanKris Winery & Vineyards is located on a hilltop on the west side of Paso Robles in the "Templeton Gap". The winery is named after Mark and Paula Gendron's daughters, January and Kristin who both hold degrees in Agriculture and Marketing. JanKris wines are 100% estate grown, blending east and west side Paso Robles grapes. JanKris has three properties with 170 acres under vine. One of their signature wines is 'Crossfire'. The 2003 Crossfire is a blend of 50% Cabernet, 25% Syrah, and 25% Merlot. The wine has complex aromas of smoky plums, cherry, and blackberry. The palate is full-bodied and full of coffee, cassis, black licorice, and pep 2003 Jan Kris
Paso Robles, California
Complex aromas. Smoky plums, cherry and blackberry. Full-bodied, warm tannins, cassis, pepper, chocolate. Balanced fruit, tannins and a long rich finish.
per and chocolate cher¬ries. The warm tannins are balanced by the rich fruit flavors. The wine is unfined, unfiltered, and spent 11 months in oak. 4,000 cases made. Drink now with prime rib and other hearty dishes or keep for autumn 2009. JanKris Winery "It's the Fruit".
Member InquiryBefore you ask... "How and why does someone become a Master Sommelier?
The process for becoming a Master Sommelier begins when you decide to raise your standards to the highest and fine-tune your selling, service and hospitality skills to a level of refinement and elegance. It starts with a healthy dose of self-discipline applied to many hours of reading, studying, memorizing wine regions, vin¬tages, producers, grape varie¬tels, soils, topography and food and wine affinities. That is the grueling part. The more fun parts are the wine tastings and travel. The title Master Sommelier is the top profes-sional qualification in the wine and hospitality industry. It is a title that is recognized world¬wide and serves as a passport to work anywhere you like. A Master Sommelier needs to discuss, recommend, and serve aperitifs, cocktails and beers. An MS knows a lot about food and its contents and can recommend appropri-ate wine. The MS knows the wines, vintages and character-istics of each and can discuss them with you. She can pre-sent, offer, prepare, and serve brandies, liqueurs, and cigars. The examinations are difficult to say the least. The exams begin at the certificate level, ¬then the advanced and finally the Master. It is in three parts which I call Brawn, Brains, and Bottle. Brawn is the practi¬cal part where we decant, pair food and wine, discuss vin¬tages, serve cigars, and gener¬ally show off our salesman¬ship skills. The Brains section is tedious as it requires answers to live questions about every corner on earth that grows grapes and why. The Bottle section is fun because the wine is here. It is required to identify the wines, grape variety, country, appella¬tion and vintage with a blind tasting and within a stated time frame. It is a great experi¬ence but not for the timid. Cheers!